National Eating Disorders Association

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Helping Post-Anorexic girlfriend lost weight

My girlfriend was severely anorexia for while, having less than a year to live, then recovered, got bulimia and gained weight back. A few days ago she came to me and asked if I would let her lose some weight again, as she's very self conscious now, to the point of sometimes missing school because she feels she can't go due to insecurities. Her parents both very badly suffer from schizophrenia and she's only been to the doctors a few times, a while ago.

So I'm gonna help her lose weight, which sounds really bad, but she says she really can't go on like this. So we decided I'd make a plan for her and we'd do it all together, we were gonna set a target weight go no further than that, and do it by exercise and eating healthily. She doesn't eat regularly still now so is there anything I can do to help her with this? She messed up her system with a lot of laxatives and so still doesn't ever really feel hungry.

Is this all a mistake? Is there anything I should know? Is this right? Any help would be greatly appreciated. :) thank you!!

Hi RetepWorm!

I would strongly urge you to encourage your girlfriend to speak to a doctor before doing anything.

I can tell you really love and want to help her but you are also not an expert on ED. ED is incredibly sneaky and what you think will just be healthy eating and exercise can quickly get out of hand. If she misses school because she is self-conscious and that she still does not eat regularly she is still struggling with ED symptoms. I’m not an expert but I don’t think losing weight is not going to alleviate those symptoms; it may even make them worse.

I included the link that gives a lot of great info on supporting a loved one through recovery. If you need help locating resources the NEDA helpline is a great place to start.

Monday-Thursday from 9:00 am - 9:00 pm and Friday from 9:00 am - 5:00 pm (EST):

Please keep posting and let us know how you are doing. Your girlfriend is really lucky to have you by her side. Take care of yourself!

Hey, thank you so much for

Hey, thank you so much for the reply!!

I've tried many times to convince her to talk to a doctor, but she refuses to go, saying she went before and was shouted at, and ended up never going again and staying at home for a few weeks afterwards. Should I just keep trying to get her to go? My thoughts were perhaps I should show her this plan, with the exercise and when to eat on that she asked so much for, and say that she has to come with me to a doctor or GP, just once, before we can start? I've read everywhere that this is so important and it's the only thing she refuses. Would this be a good idea?

I would strongly urge you to

I would strongly urge you to do everything you can to get her to go in to a doctor. If it would help her feel more comfortable, maybe you can go into the appointment with her for part of the time so she feels supported? Eating disorders are terribly sneaky; they can fool those of us who have them, let alone our loved ones. It is really important to have an objective set of medical eyes looking at the situation to make sure she doesn't spiral back into her illness.